Hair – from TV to online tutorials

I don’t blog often about my BBC day job, but recently I was involved in something pretty special that you all need to check out. A new BBC Three show called Hair starts on Tuesday 25th Feb, at 9pm, which you should all watch a) because it’s hair-tastic, and b) I guarantee you’ll be inspired to be more creative with your beautiful tassels. And if you are… there are some pretty special online hair tutorials videos which you can watch to get some tips and tricks. I lent my blonde barnet to the crew and was filmed as hair model for one of the YouTube videos.

Hair model


The tutorial I was in was the backwards plait & bun, made by the lovely Katie, which looks gorge. The great thing about my tutorial is that you can also do yourself it at home. Yes… REALLY! Look, I’ve just done it on myself, messy style.

Upside down plait bun

I’m also really liking modern beehive and the fishtail plait tutorials, I’m going to give those a whirl next party time. I’d love to hear if the videos (or the show) inspired you to re-create the styles at home, drop me a comment if so!


Reading the Web – some stats

Today I attended a course on writing for the internet. It was very interesting and cemented most of my knowledge about online scanning and SEO keywords, but I found some tasty and enlightening stats that I thought I would share. Those looking for more info nuggets should also take a look at Jacob Nielson’s research on reading the web, which for me was also a new discovery.

What percentage of words are read on a webpage?

28 - Leo Reynolds on Flickr

28 - Leo Reynolds via Flickr

What percentage slower do we read webpages compared to physical documents/books/novels?

25 - Billa via Flickr

25 - Billa via Flickr

What percentage of online activity uses a search engine to find content?

80 - chrisinplymouth via Flickr

80 - chrisinplymouth via Flickr

What percentage of time is spent looking at the left/right sides of a webpage?

70 - duncan via Flickr          30 - Leo Reynolds via Flickr   

How many words of a paragraph do we read before we decide to read a entire webpage?

2 - Horrgakx via Flickr

2 - Horrgakx via Flickr

BBC Blast David Mach interview – My first TV credit!

Unexpected excitement fell in into my email inbox this morning.

Most of my loyal followers and friends will know that I have recently finished a two month placement with BBC Blast, where I worked on their fantastic website. I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend two film shoots, the first as a part of a Sarah Jane adventures Competition, and the second was an interview with one of my favourite artists, British sculptor David Mach.


I was asked to help out on the production and research for this series short films for the BBC Blast website and I could not put into words how excited I was. I was first introduced to Mach’s sculptures when I attended a lecture by him and Peter Randall-Page when I was in 6th Form – an event that Mach also referenced in his interview. His work Silver streak was my favourite piece in the 2010 Royal Academy Summer exhibition.

Shoot day came – the final day of my Blast placement – and it didn’t disappoint. Mach had as big a personality as fondly remembered from my youth, and I hope we captured this on film. His studio was as fascinating as he was, with very nook and cranny of his home containining something inspiring.

This series was a broadcast on a BBC Two in the early hours, along with other films about horror writer Charlie Higson and Audrey Leighton who writes the fashion blog Frassy. I received a lovely email from the team reminding me that the films has been broadcast, and I’ve been credited along with my fellow trainee Rajiv as the ‘Production Team”. As my Blast Placement seems almost years ago, I am very surprised, but very very chuffed.

You can view the film below, but don’t forget to go direct to the Blast Website to show your appreciation there.  I also have to say big thank-you to Emily Brown who got me involved with the project, and the Producer/Director Rana Yousif for letting me attend the shoot.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

BBC Blast Creative Traineeship – Training day

Yesterday I hopped on an early morning train to London for my training day with the BBC. As I commented in a previous post, I have been offered a creative traineeship with BBC Blast. Blast is an outreach programme, primarily designed at 13-19 year olds to get them actively creating. Its primary base is the website, which I will be working on, where people can upload their content and enter exclusive competitions. But they also have a tour; Blast trucks go around the country to designated sites, where people can come along and create things first hand. This is a fantastic public service provision like no other, and is unfortunatly being threatened by the Cuts proposal. It is possible that this may be the last year that the creative trainee scheme may be running, so we have been told to make as much noise about it as possible, tell the world how amazing Blast is and how we can’t lose it. Young talent really needs to be nurtured and encouraged to grow, or else how can the BBC make new and fresh programmes?

Anyway… my placement. I turned up to the BBC, went to the wrong building (again) and met the rest of the creative trainees. There were about 15 of us, but two from Ireland weren’t able to make it because of the Volcanic ash currently dominating the skies. Everyone was really lovely, brimming with confidence, with a reportoire of exciting things under their belts. More girls than boys and lots of blonde girls though (about 2/3’s of the group) but maybe I am thinking that because of this I read a few days ago. I really need to work on my name learning skills, because people seemed to remember mine, but I could never remember anyone else’s.

We watched a few videos of last years trainee’s work, including a section of a Muse documentary that Hayley Clarke – the lovely lady that I found out about the placement from – put together. It became clear during the 8 week placement the trainee’s learnt so much and that the work that the trainee’s were producing was of a very high quality, in some cases did go to broadcast. It was great to hear that most of the trainee’s were able to find work pretty quickly afterwards, and some were still working in the BBC or in Blast.

After lunch – a giant toad in the hole – we are asked to get to know each other a little further via a creative exercise. We were all given a piece of equipment, either a camera, audio recorder, or camera and asked to make something telling the rest of the group more about each other. The group I was in had the audio recorder and we set about making a Mr and Mrs style quiz show, where we asked each other questions, guessed the answers and found out the real ones. None of them were serious, as some of the answers involved Noel Edmonds fashion sense, and Meryl Streep in a pink Bikini. Needless to say, we got a few laughs from the rest of the group.

Then we set off to meet our supervisors. I had been chatting to Anthony, my co-trainee throughout the day and we wandered over to the Blast office together. We met the rest of the team, who are all very lovely, found out about the projects we would be working on and confirmed our start dates.

I start in July. Better get my creative thinking cap on and come up with some good ideas… I can’t wait to get started!

P.S: Does Being a creative trainee mean that I can now call myself Peggy?

BBC Blast Creative traineeship

As I have publicly announced it via Twitter and Facebook, its probably a good idea for me to write a little about my acheivement on my blog. Probably should of done it first via here…

So… Tuesday was my interview with the BBC. I have been so gloriously excited about since since I found out I was shortlisted, telling anyone that would listen. I obtained good advice from Paula at the Journalist works and my tutors. The key was preparation, preparation, preparation and go armed with ideas and questions.

On the day, I giddily went to the wrong building, but still managed to turn up early and read the in-house magazine while waiting for my interview. Both the team members that interviewed me were lovely and were really intrigued to find out more about my experince. I think it is my interest in social media underpinned by my creative background that made me shine that little bit more, not to mention the fact that I was grinning like a chesire cat the whole way through.

I had an offer confirmed in writing just over 24 hours later. The job is a two month traineeship working in London for the BBC Blast website. It is a fantastic incentive to get 13-19 year olds actively creating and showcasing their work, from music, art, fashion, writing… they can engage with other young people to stimulate ideas for their work and get tips from in-house videos featuring celebrities on how to create and get noticed; this vid by John Burgerman caught my eye. They also have a great road show that tours the country at the start of the academic year which we featured in the Pebble back in November, but I will be primarily working on the website and using social media to engage young people. Because I want to go into on-line PR and journalism, this opportunity is a dream for me. It will hopefully kick off on July – to say I am extremely excited is a massive understatement.

How in God’s name I am going to be able to concentrate on my uni work now I do not know.